As most of you already know, Old MacDonald had a farm. In this story, however, he took that farm and turned it into a golf course. A really awesome one. Old MacDonald is the third instalment of my Bandon Dunes Golf Resort pentology, and one of the most intriguing.
Old MacDonald was built in 2010, making it the youngest of Bandon’s four golf courses. If I didn’t know better, that certainly would have fooled me. It’s a golf course mature beyond its years and brings with it the depth and complexity of a perfectly aged bottle of wine. You’ll feel like you’re on an age-old course in Scotland, with a few modern twists.
The morning we played Old MacDonald was foggy and eerily calm. After we all found the forgiving first fairway (which we couldn’t see) and made our pars, we arrived at the par-3 second hole with the fog starting to lift. Our playing partners, who have played the course several times, gave us a heads up that the front bunkers are bad news. Feeling a bit in between clubs, I went with the longer club, a 7-iron, with the pin back left. I hit it flush and landed it in the center of green, prompting everyone to say “great shot”. It trickled slowly to the back and disappeared. As I walked to the back of the green I noticed it had rolled all the way off the back, down a steep slope, around a bunker, and left me in a virtually impossible spot to make par. One of the caddies promptly said “Welcome to Old MacDonald, it’s a fine line between perfection and disaster out here”.
The par-3 2nd hole:
Approach to the par 4 3rd hole:
The par-3 5th hole, a very large and undulating green:
Bunkers guarding layups on the par-5 6th hole:
The par-4 7th green:
The par-5 18th tee shot:
It was very difficult for me not to rank Old MacDonald higher than 3rd in my Bandon rankings. It’s a great golf course that happens to be in the company of other great golf courses, so if I wasn’t saying that about Old MacDonald, I’d be saying it about one of the others.
You could play Old MacDonald a dozen times and it would feel different every time. Its intricacies are endless and provoke imagination that will make you feel like a kid again. It is rewarding yet humbling, and forces you to take nothing for granted.
Old MacDonald reminds me how the game was intended to be played.